Month: August 2019

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4 Dimensions of Well-being that Influence your Career

Have you ever thought about how deeply your career is connected to your well-being in all its four main components: Physical, Psychological, Spiritual and Family health? Why does emotional stress and some of your thoughts (the negative ones) affect your body and eventually result in physical illness? Moreover, do you notice that physical activity improves and strengthens your psyche?



We would like to invite you to do a self-reflection exercise to discover how these components work together in your life, and influence each other.

How does the spiritual awareness help you make effective career decisions?

Why is the physical and psychological health sensitively influenced by stress and unhappiness in your career or at your work place?

How did the family you grew up in influence the career choices you’ve made?

Te Whare Tapa Wha

Inspired by the Maori philosophy, a tribe from New Zeeland, Dr Mason Durie developed the Te Whare Tapa Wha model, a great tool which can help you to develop your self-awareness about your career and the balance of a healthy life.

To illustrate the importance of each dimension of health, he used a very expressive symbol: Wharenui – the meeting house, whose visualization leads to a better understanding of the role of each component in holding the whole construction.  Click here to see the model.

Physical health is the foundation of strong construction, represented by the walls. They should be strong, but without a roof and windows, they cannot actually offer a proper space for living.

Psychological and Spiritual components are represented by windows which permit the light (of wisdom) to enter the house. Only in the light we can distinguish objects and colours, so only in the spiritual light of our main values we can understand meanings and emotions, and consequently we can make the right decisions in life and career.

Family is represented by the roof, offering protection and security and also the old generation offer models to the young family members, influencing their career.

In normal life conditions, as Dr. Durie says, all four components must be strong, balanced, and interconnected to hold the whole structure. However, there are extreme situations where the physical and psychological health can be deeply affected by improper life conditions, but the spiritual component offers a strong motivation, based on strong values, for fighting and continuation of life.

Certainly, a proper understanding of the importance of each health component can help us keep a good life balance and harmony, including career development.

If you’d like to learn more about Dr. Durie’s model, click here.

Written by Ramona Bandrabur, Career Paths for Skilled Immigrants

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Meet Xueyang!

Xueyang arrived to Canada in September 2019.He holds a PhD. in Oncology from Southern Medical University in Guangzhou, China. Apart from his PhD, he also has a Master of Science degree in Cell Biology from the Ocean University of China and a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology from Guangdong Ocean University.

He has more than 5 years of experience in the biological research industry. He worked at the Saliai Stem Cell Science and Technology Co. Ltd as an Immunocyte Department Manager in Guangzhou, China from 2016 to 2018 and before that as a Research & Development Assistant with the Allcare Biomedical Development Co. Ltd in Qingdao, China.

After his arrival to Canada, Xueyang was actively looking for work and sent a number of job applications within the biological research industry in Canada especially to organizations doing research in his area of interest (Oncology). He targeted a few universities in British Columbia as well as in Canada. Unfortunately he had no success in gaining related work.

He joined the Career Paths Program in January 2019 and his counselor guided him with a detailed plan for his job search, selecting potential employers and targeting his resume to match their organization’s objective.

His main focus was on developing an effective networking plan. Xueyang diligently followed his plan and reached out to organizations he was interested to work for.

After two weeks following this strategy Xueyang was invited for a Skype Interview with the University of Montreal. He prepared very carefully for the interview and practiced a mock interview with his counselor. He gained the confidence needed for the interview and was successful!

Based on his perfect presentation at the interview he was offered a position of a Post-doctoral fellow; a position that matches his work experience and education very well.

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The Power of a Thank You Letter

Have you ever felt frustrated after an interview?  Sure you have! I know you’ve mentally gone over your interview answers and…you remember what you DID NOT say and you realize you missed an opportunity to REINFORCE your candidacy. Well, this is why you write a strategic Thank You letter, which will position you back in the “game.”

Of course, it all depends on how badly you’ve messed things up. Sometimes, there is no backpedaling, but let’s assume for a moment that you can recoup or cement your candidacy–what then do you say in your Thank You letter besides…thank you?

The problem with most Thank You letters is they are usually prepared as just a nice gesture. Saying thank you is a very nice thing to do and it does go a long way, but if written as an ordinary thank you, it is not strategic enough to add another dimension to your candidacy, it doesn’t leverage as an additional qualifier, and doesn’t elevate your interview performance. In other words, use your Thank You opportunity as a last marketing tool in order to gain a competitive distinction.

Here are a few things you can do to take advantage of the follow up opportunity. Remember, now you have “insider” information that you did not have prior to the interview—don’t waste it.

When Your Interviewer Shared a Concern:  If during the interview process, you were told that the perfect candidate must meet XYZ and you discussed your lack in one of these areas, you need to talk about this again. Concisely bring it up, reiterate why this would not be a problem, and, in fact, promote how despite this “weakness” you are the PERFECT candidate.

When You Did Not Say What You Should Have Said: At times, we reflect and in retrospect recognize where we failed. Well, this is your opportunity! Bring up the topic and say you would like to elaborate, you would like to expand; you had time to think about this and want to convey the following.

When You Think You Sensed Apprehension:  This is a bit risky because you could be wrong. Yet, what is life if not risky? If you are very good at perceiving and ascertaining needs and you KNOW you identified a problem–“smooth” it out! Please do not say you think the interviewer did not understand… You NEVER want to convey you assume to know what others think but you can discuss what YOU failed to communicate. You can say you would like to clarify a point you wish you had emphasized.

When You Really Just Want to Say Thank You: There are times when you were FANTASTIC during an interview and you sincerely just want to say, thanks!  Nevertheless, you don’t know how your competition performed and you are not privy as to what kind of Thank You letter they are preparing. So, in this case, thank them but fortify your candidacy even further.


Written by Sogol Jamali, Career Paths Placement Specialist


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Avoiding Job Scams

Recently some of my clients have reported being contacted by an employer to go for an interview where they had never applied for a job! Some of them went to the interview and then subsequently found out they were NOT being considered for a managerial position, as they had been led to believe, but were instead offered an entry level and sometimes commission-based sales job.

When an employer contacts you and you did not apply for any position with them, think of this as an early warning sign telling you to proceed with caution. It is usually NOT so easy to get an interview, and for most jobs you must really prove yourself qualified and worthy. Ask yourself why this employer is contacting you or why a job has been offered so readily after a short or non-existent interview? — It could be that the work is difficult and low-paying OR it could be that the position and company are a scam designed to get your personal information and even your money.

When you are considering going to an interview or accepting a position, make sure you have researched the company online. Try googling the company name and reading what comes up. Also look at websites like to find out about the salaries and what past employees are saying about the company. If the organization has a website, look to see if it is a good one: does it describe exactly what the company offers its customers? Does it have a contact number? Do you see any spelling mistakes or grammatical errors in the website?

If you decide to go for the interview, make sure you follow your intuition! If the job offer seems to fall in your lap with the briefest of interviews and it seems too good to be true, this might actually be the case. Be cautious if you are asked immediately too many personal details such as address, birth date, social insurance number, and especially banking information. You can always tell a perspective employer that you need a day or two to think about your response to a job offer, and then you have time to seek out more information before making a decision.

Tip written by Heather Musser, Career Paths Career Counsellor, Back in Motion